L-R: Dr. Aroosa Kanwal (Prize Winner), Fahad Qadir (Director, Public Affairs & Communications, Coca-Cola) & Ameena Saiyid (Founder, Oxford University Press Pakistan)
Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) was the talk of the town for the past three days, commencing 5th February, 2016 at The Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi. The three-day Festival is the premier annual literary and cultural event in Pakistan for the last 7 years, founded by the Oxford University Press. The literary festival serves as a hub for international and local literature lovers and pioneers, and Coca-Cola has been a privileged sponsor for the Festival since 4 years now. The Company’s support to KLF originated from its holistic commitment to promote literacy and the reading habit, especially in our youth. This is a global commitment, as Coca-Cola has over the years supported several literature festivals, including, Filipino American Book Festival, Lagos Book & Art Festival, Library of Congress National Book Festival, the Jaipur Lit Fest, the Miami Book Fair and the Savannah Book Festival.
The sponsorship for the Festival was threefold; Coca-Cola was the main sponsor for the prize money award for the Best Non-Fiction Book by a Pakistani Author in 2016, the exclusive beverage supplier at the event and most importantly this year Coca-Cola Pakistan launched a new CSR initiative called “National Volunteer Programme” (NVP) which aims to support the work of NGOs for socio-economic uplift of marginalized people, through volunteer work.
On 5th February 2016, Fahad Qadir, Director Public Affairs & Communications, Pakistan & Afghanistan Region, attended the award ceremony at KLF and honoured Dr. Aroosa Kanwal with the award for Best Non-Fiction Book by a Pakistani Author. Her monograph is entitled “Rethinking Identities in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction: Beyond 9/11”published by Palgrave Macmillan, and it covers the transformation in the perceptions and stereotypes held against Muslims post 9/11 attacks in the U.S. Surprised by the announcement of the Book winner at the event, Dr. Aroosa was overwhelmed with the honour, “I am grateful to KLF and Coca-Cola for recognizing the budding literary talent in Pakistan. This book is a vital addition in the post-colonial discourse, and particularly, regarding the role of Pakistani Anglophone Fiction in writing back to dominant discourses in important ways and in negotiating with the global power skein after the fall of the Twin Towers. I am humbly honoured and pleased that my work has gained appreciation from the Jury and event organizers, so thank you.”
Moreover, keeping up with the legacy, Coca-Cola was the exclusive beverage supplier for KLF 2016 executing a brand activation to give away complimentary 21,000 Coca-Cola cans and 17,400 Kinley bottles in return of coupons which were distributed at the entrance gate throughout the three days of the event. With more than 10 volunteers in the management, Coca-Cola stalls experienced zestful crowds pouring in for free drinks for refreshment in the warm and sunny Karachi weather. The honorable authors, speakers and guests admired the goodwill gesture by Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola providing complimentary drinks to visitors
A separate stall was set up for publics at the event to sign up for NVP. Supporting Coca-Cola’s support towards the Programme, Zohare Ali Shariff, executive Director, Triple Bottom-Line, explained “The National Volunteer Programme is a technology-based initiative that will place corporate and other volunteers where they are most needed, and where their specific skills and personal interests will be perfectly matched with the needs of beneficiary institutions.” The specialize software for NVP serves as a connection between the NGOs and interested volunteers, which includes individuals as well as corporate entities. The Coca-Cola Company has earned its social license by ‘giving back to the communities’ and this NVP is another addition to the existing CSR portfolio of The Company. First phase of NVP has been launched in Karachi, and soon with cumulative progress in the number of interested volunteers, the Programme will be extended to Lahore and Islamabad as well.
National Volunteer Programme stall at KLF 2016
Coca-Cola Pakistan has been the paramount of motivation for our youth’s well-being; with massively successful projects like Coke Studio, Sprite Street Cricket, 321 Bhago!, the Company’s vision has always encapsulated ‘well-being’ of its people, communities and planet. Support for festivals like KLF stretches to domains like entertainment, food, leisure and of course literature.